Have you ever thought of growing up? Your garden, that is.
Living walls may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but they can be a unique way to make a statement in your home.
Numerous environmental and health benefits can accompany living walls, also called vertical gardens. Such plant installations not only help purify the air, they can act as natural insulation in the winter or can cool walls in blistering summers — helping to reduce your energy bill any season.
Once set-up is complete, proponents say living walls are also low-maintenance. Avid gardeners can avoid straining their backs and knees bending over to plant into the ground. Vertical garden kits are also available for novices resolving to have greener thumbs this new year.
We’ve aggregated experts’ guidelines on what you need to consider when creating your own living wall at home.
Location, location, location
Choosing the placement of your garden will determine what type of plants you can grow. Whether indoor or outdoor, determine if your garden will need direct sunlight or if your plants can grow on an inner wall with shade.
Many vertical gardens are created with sustainability in mind, using reclaimed items to form the installation. Palettes are a preferred method, as are “pocket” gardens made of felt or other organic materials. In Dallas, companies such as Dr. Delphinium Designs and Events and Plant Interscapes design larger-scale living walls for the more ambitious at heart.
The sky is the limit — and maybe your ceiling — on what plants you choose. Remember to group plants together that need direct sunlight or can grow in the shade.
Was your New Year’s resolution to eat more vegetables? Opt for a vegetable garden with carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes and more. Herb gardens for sun-loving plants provide a lovely texture and can include basil, chives, cilantro, dill, lemongrass and rosemary.
If you’d like natural air purifiers, NASA recommends English ivy, spider plants, peace lilies and bamboo palms among their top selections.
Use potting soil that will aid in holding more water for the plants, which dry out quickly when they’re in vertical gardens.
Some plants will need to be trained to grow in their containers, such as those placed in wood pallets. Be patient, and grow the plants horizontally in their container first to let them establish roots before placing their containers vertically.
Most experts advise using a drip-irrigation system to fulfill your plants’ water needs. Depending on the size of your wall and its location, you can install a system that drips directly into individual containers and uses a timer. Smaller vertical gardens can use tray drips, with holes in the bottom, allowing water to trickle down slowly.
Make sure you have a collection tray at the bottom, in case the water doesn’t catch in the plants.